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Ryan Hospital Philadelphia, PA



Penn Vet Opens the First Academic Extracellular Vesicle Core Facility in the United States, Supports Investigators in the Growing Field of Extracellular Research

By: Martin Hackett Date: Sep 12, 2019

[PHILADELPHIA, September 12, 2019] - A new core facility, the first on the east coast to exclusively focus on the isolation and characterization of extracellular vesicles, has opened at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet). The Extracellular Vesicle Core Facility at Penn Vet supports investigators with the necessary scientific and technical capabilities to define, standardize and monitor research in pathological and physiological conditions.

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are membrane-enclosed nanoparticles released from all cell types and they play an integral role in intercellular communication. They are characteristic of the cells in which they came from, and are attractive targets for novel, non-invasive diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.

Dr. Rachel DeRita, Penn Vet“The field of EV research is expanding at a swift pace. The growth of EV science has created a need for expertise to support reproducibility and rigor in the field,” said Dr. Rachel DeRita, Director of the Extracellular Vesicle Core Facility. “We are embedded in one of the nation’s most respected research institutions; we are rooted in the life sciences cluster of Greater Philadelphia, and we are centrally located within the Mid-Atlantic region. We just opened our doors and we are experiencing incredible demand. The science community is responding to the value that we provide. Our hope is to build bridges between the various scientific disciplines across Penn Vet and beyond.”

The EV Core Facility provides select or comprehensive services in the isolation, quantification and characterization of EVs using the following methods:

  • Isolation using high-performance (SEC-HPLC) or gravity fed liquid chromatography, ultracentrifugation, and/or density gradient ultracentrifugation. 
  • Size and concentration characterization using resistive pulse sensing techniques (nCS1, Spectradyne, LLC). 
  • Immunophenotyping using nanoscale flow cytometry and/or chip array (ExoViewTM) processes.  

The EV Core Facility also offers training programs, study design and budget consultation, and guidance on EV characterization to meet the ISEV’s MISEV standards.

Dr. Andrew Hoffman, Penn Vet“Research methods are constantly evolving, and as an academic institution we have a role to play to help researchers keep pace,” said Dr. Andrew Hoffman, the Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Veterinary Medicine and Principal of the EV Core Facility. “Offering a training component at the facility is critical in making sure scientific and clinical investigators have the skills they need to succeed in this growing field. Our intent is to create long-term institutional partnerships with investigators who are interested in partnering with us at each step along their scientific inquiry.”

For more information about the capabilities of Penn Vet’s EV Core Facility, go to, or contact Dr. Rachel DeRita at / 215-573-8215.


About Penn Vet

Ranked among the top ten veterinary schools worldwide, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) is a global leader in veterinary education, research, and clinical care. Founded in 1884, Penn Vet is the first veterinary school developed in association with a medical school. The school is a proud member of the One Health initiative, linking human, animal, and environmental health.

Penn Vet serves a diverse population of animals at its two campuses, which include extensive diagnostic and research laboratories. Ryan Hospital in Philadelphia provides care for dogs, cats, and other domestic/companion animals, handling more than 34,600 patient visits a year. New Bolton Center, Penn Vet’s large-animal hospital on nearly 700 acres in rural Kennett Square, PA, cares for horses and livestock/farm animals. The hospital handles more than 6,200 patient visits a year, while our Field Services have gone out on more than 5,500 farm service calls, treating some 18,700 patients at local farms. In addition, New Bolton Center’s campus includes a swine center, working dairy, and poultry unit that provide valuable research for the agriculture industry.